Snowmass kicks off summer with new events |

Snowmass kicks off summer with new events

Empty beer glasses fill a table at the Snowmass Mammoth Fest on Saturday. Patrons were quick to fill them up, however.

Snowmass’ annual kickoff to summer is coming this weekend, and this year it’s all about the beer.

For 10 years, the village offered the valleywide kickoff to summer in the form of the Chili Pepper & Brew Fest, a chili cookoff and beer tasting combo that also offered live music. For the past three years, that evolved into the Snowmass Mammoth Fest, which became more about the music and relocated to the grassy fields of Town Park.

Now, this event is circling back, returning to the ski slopes and eliminating some aspects to focus on what’s important: craft beer.

“The idea here is to really make it about the beer and celebrating Colorado microbrews,” said Dave Elkan, of Snowmass Tourism. “We want to show the valley a great value day.”

Tasting tip: “Pick a beer style you enjoy and find the breweries that are serving that,” said Steve Kurowski of the Colorado Brewers Guild. “Then your palette stays in the same taste range, and you can make an apples to apples comparison and find your favorite.”

The Snowmass Craft Beer Rendezvous, presented by the Colorado Brewers Guild, is bringing 47 breweries from all over the state — more than this festival has ever had before, Elkan said. Breweries will have sampling stations all over the Mall and Base Village, so attendees can take their tasting glasses up and down the Skittles lift with them.

The Colorado Brewers Guild puts on several big events like this one throughout the state, and they’re all a little different, said manager Steve Kurowski. This event is farther west than the others, which are in the Front Range, Salida and Lake Dillon, to name a few.

Attendees at the Snowmass Craft Beer Rendezvous will have the opportunity to taste some brews that aren’t available in the valley, and even some that the breweries don’t bottle or can. Examples of some lesser-known breweries in attendance are Our Mutual Friend, Hall Brewing, Horse & Dragon, Mockery Brewing, and Beryl’s Beer Co.

“One of the greatest things about these events is that people get to do a lot of exploration without having to travel all over the state,” Kurowski said.

The nonprofit Colorado Brewers Guild exists to promote and protect the craft beer industry in the state, which it does by lobbying lawmakers, holding events like this one and helping market the industry in general.

“What oranges are to Florida, we’re trying to make craft beers to Colorado,” Kurowski said.

More than just beer

OK, it’s not all drinking. The day will start with a 5k/10k loop on Fanny Hill and the Sleigh Ride and Nature trails. Sponsored by bRUNch Running, which puts on events like this in several major cities, the run offers ticketholders the cost of the race plus brunch and two drink tickets.

The beer tasting follows in the afternoon. In the evening, Snowmass is kicking off its free music series with a performance by the Royal Southern Brotherhood with Cyril Neville at 6:30 p.m. on Fanny Hill.

Like the rest of the free concert series, the venue is open to all, whether they bought tickets for the other events or not, and food and beer will be available inside the gates. Outside alcohol cannot be brought on to the premises.


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